web 2.0

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

Link to TechCrunch

H.264 Already Won—Makes Up 66 Percent Of Web Videos

Posted: 01 May 2010 08:30 AM PDT

Earlier this week, Steve Jobs kicked the debate about the need for Flash into high gear, especially for Web video. As he explained, Apple products like the iPhone and iPad don’t support Flash because although 75 percent of video on the Web is in Flash ” almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads.” The next day, Microsoft weighed in, saying that Internet Explorer 9 would only support the H.264 codec for HTML video.

So how much video exactly is available in H.264? I asked Encoding.com, which has encoded 5 million videos over the past year for a variety of Websites and customers including MTV Networks, WebMD, Brightcove, Nokia, MySpace, and Red Bull. President Jeff Malkin sent me the chart above, which he believes is representative of the Web in general, including mobile. As the chart shows, in the past four quarters, the H.264 format went from 31 percent of all videos to 66 percent, and is now the largest format by far. Meanwhile, Flash is represented by Flash VP6 and FLV, which combined represent only 26 percent of all videos. That is down from a combined total of 69 percent four quarters ago. So the native Flash codecs and H.264 have completely flipped in terms of market share (Flash also supports H.264, however, but you don’t need a Flash player to watch H.264 videos)

Another data point that Steve Jobs mentions: All YouTube videos are available in H.264, which alone represents 40 percent of all videos on the Web. So these numbers from Encoding don’t seem so crazy.

All of these codecs and formats can seem like gobbledy gook. Malkin offers the following to explain the differences:

The formats can be confusing between containers and codecs. FLV is the Flash container with the old H.263 codec. Flash VP6 is the Flash container with the VP6 codec. H.264 is a codec that is utilized in a number of different containers (.FLV, .MP4, .MOV) and on Apple mobile devices and when deployed by browsers for HTML5. Microsoft just announced that IE will use H.264 as the default codec for HTML5. And, Google will be soon offering the VP8 codec as open source which will add another formidable flag in the format wars.

Advice From Founders Who Bootstrapped Their Way to Success

Posted: 01 May 2010 06:52 AM PDT

In my last post, I discussed why the odds of a rookie entrepreneur getting seed financing from a VC are very slim. The reality is that less than 5% of venture money goes to seed-stage startups; VCs typically invest when a company has a working product, a tested business model, and a strong management team. It's the entrepreneurs who take the risk; not the VCs. They beg and borrow money from friends and family, max out their credit cards, and sometimes make do by living at home with their parents. Yet, very often, it's the VCs who get the glory. I don't think that's fair. So in this post, I'm going to highlight three bootstrapped companies, and share the advice of their founders. In my books, entrepreneurs are the real heroes—those who make the innovation happen. They are the ones you should be following on Twitter and learning from, not boastful VCs.

Take Chicago-based Threadless. Its founder, Jake Nickell, built a very profitable $40 million business by bringing crowdsourcing to the mundane world of t-shirt design. Threadless sells millions of tees every year and has been growing annually at double-digit percentage rates. It was founded in 2000, after Nickell, then a 20-year-old web developer, won a t-shirt-design contest. With an investment of $1000, he built a website to which people submitted t-shirt designs, and the favorites were printed in limited-edition runs. In 2006, the company had gained traction, was generating nearly $10 million in revenue, and took a small investment from Insight Venture Partners.

My Q&A with Jake:

Would you have taken a VC investment if you could have, when you started?

Definitely not, as I was starting a hobby and not a business. It's kind of like asking if I would consider a VC investment to help me start learning to skateboard. Sure, I'd spend a couple hundred bucks on a board, some pads and maybe some materials to build a ramp, but I’m not looking for millions or even hundreds or tens of thousands to just create something for fun. Even if I was starting a business, I don't think I was raised that way or have that type of personality. I didn't even have my first credit card until I was maybe 23, so I really just don’t do well with spending money I don't have.

Why did you take investment and how has that experience been? What changed after taking VC?

We were having major operations trouble and weren’t incredibly excited about fixing it ourselves. I never finished college and my background is more in art/programming. In '05 if you ordered a tee during our holiday sale, you'd probably get it three weeks after Christmas. We had a few choices… outsource all that stuff (but still have to manage it), work with consultants to help us figure out what to do, or to get someone who knew what they were doing to invest in the company and help us. We felt that last option was best.

The experience has been great. There was no shortage of interest from VC firms in investing in us, so we got to be pretty choosy about whom we worked with. We got really comfortable with Insight as they had some programs in place for helping us, and we got along really well with them. A lot has changed after taking the VC—we are now operationally sound and actually ship orders out in a decent timeframe!

What advice would you give fellow entrepreneurs?

If you want your life to be fun as an entrepreneur, I suggest going into it with realistic expectations and to measure your success in different ways than financially. I've done well financially with Threadless, but if I had to give up one thing, the money would be the first thing to go. The happiness, relationships, enrichment in others' lives, the community that now exists; the opportunities brought to artists—that's the success that really matters for Threadless. Build your business in a way that lets you say that, and mean it too.

Pointabout is a Washington D.C. based startup that markets a mobile-application builder, AppMakr.com. Founded in 2008, by Scott Suhy, Daniel R. Odio, Sean Shadmad, and Isaac Mosquera, the company started building custom apps for companies like Disney, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and Politico. They used this revenue to fund the development of their flagship product. Two years later, the Pointabout is profitable, with revenues approaching $2 million annually. It's not that the founders didn't try raising VC; things are even tougher in D.C. than in Silicon Valley, so they decided to bootstrap.

My Q&A with the team:

Would you have been better off if you could have raised VC when you started?

We’re really glad we didn't. It's easy to burn through a lot of cash trying to figure your business out. Bootstrapping (especially in a recession) has forced us to focus on what works, and on gaining traction. The right time to take money is when you have something that works and you want to blow it out of the water with explosive growth. Taking money too early often hurts more than it helps, and looking back on our growth, we believe that would have likely been the case with us.

Did you have to make major tradeoffs by going down the custom development/consulting route?

Sure, we made plenty of trade-offs. Many tough round-table meetings. We funded our growth by developing our AppMakr.com product based on custom app consulting revenue. This month we've been successful enough to break out our P&Ls so we can draw a line in the sand between the consulting and product divisions. We'll continue to separate these two as we grow. The product drives consulting revenue when clients want features that it can't provide. And since the consulting side is close to the customer, it helps drive our product roadmap.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs?

Focus hard and focus on your core. Almost anyone can make any one thing great if they focus on it and dedicate their life to it. If all you did was think about how to make one specific thing awesome every day, you would succeed.

Entrepreneurism is glamorized and romanticized, but at the end of the day, it's really, really hard work, and it requires a lot of sacrifice—not just from you, but from the people around you. Make sure your friends and family are ready to support you, and then jump in. Don’t let the fear keep you from doing it. You only live once, so if this is what you're passionate about, don't have any regrets looking back on your life. Just do it.

I've written about the dearth of women and minorities in tech entrepreneurship. Timothy Bernard Jones, an African-American entrepreneur, is one of the rare success stories. He founded Buzzient in 2007, to market a SaaS application that enables users to integrate social media into business applications. It allows Oracle CRM to integrate data from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, for example. Having been an associate at a VC firm in his past, Jones decided to forsake VC and to bootstrap instead. He wants to build considerable value before seriously considering venture capital. With revenues in the "low millions of dollars" and having achieved profitability, Buzzient certainly seems on track.

I asked Tim how much of a factor his skin color was in his decision not to raise VC.

I wouldn't say being black put either me or Buzzient at a disadvantage, but bootstrapping has been a big advantage. I have had absolutely no illusion about being able to walk into a VC pitch wearing a t-shirt and flip-flops and walk out with a term sheet. I know that if I had dropped out of college, there is no way I would be considered "entrepreneurial" or "visionary"; I'd just be "a college dropout". So, in my case, and for the company I lead, we’ve created a culture of self-sufficiency that is very different from the mentality I see with so many venture-funded companies. Look, we've already outlasted tons of venture-funded companies, and I think that's a direct result of the survival mentality we created early on.

What were the keys to your success?

The first rule is to relentlessly focus on your customers. We have Global 5000 clients, such as Xerox, Credit Suisse, and Perkin Elmer, who rely on Buzzient for social-media insights on their existing and prospective customers. VC-backed companies often go off on tangents based on business-school strategy sessions and the like; as a bootstrapped company you live and die by how happy and successful your customers are, and in keeping them so. Everything revolves around customer focus; what people you bring into the company and when, what technology you build and what features you add to the specification; everything. If we'd not focused as much on customers, Buzzient would not have made it through the recession.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs?

Don't believe the hype and noise about how "easy" it is to do a startup and how money is literally falling from heaven into startups. Every time I drive by Sand Hill Road, I see clumps of "fresh fish", shuffling from pitch to pitch, who equate raising VC with having a successful company. Look, this is hard; if you're really building something of value, it's going to be hard, and you have to be prepared to endure a lot. The finish line is liquidity for your shareholders, investors, and employees, not a VC raise.

I'd also advise entrepreneurs to not follow VC insights on what sectors to build companies in. VCs for the most part are following trends, not looking ahead of the curve. So, as an entrepreneur you fundamentally have to do something outside the scope of what VCs are currently investing in; if not you'll end up doing yet another me-too company that doesn't stand out. That means you have to consciously ignore a lot of the noise about trends, who got funded, the "blah blah blah" of the tech world. That's the only way you'll be able to focus on creating your own unique value proposition.

All these entrepreneurs have great advice to offer, don't they? There are thousands like these who have paved the entrepreneurial trails—thousands whom you should listen to and learn from.

Editor's note: Guest writer Vivek Wadhwa is an entrepreneur turned academic. He is a Visiting Scholar at UC-Berkeley, Senior Research Associate at Harvard Law School and Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University. Follow him on Twitter at @vwadhwa

Only 27.3% Of Android Phones Can Use The Official Twitter Client

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 06:22 PM PDT

Earlier today Twitter released its official Twitter app for Android — a move that’s been expected since CEO Ev Williams announced that it was coming during Twitter’s Chirp conference. In our post, we mentioned that this was only going to be available for Android 2.1, and as others have pointed out, that means we have another case of Android’s lingering fragmentation problem rearing its ugly head. But just how bad is it? We don’t have to guess.

Two weeks ago, Google updated the Platform Versions section of the official Android website, which gives the most accurate breakdown of Android fragmentation you’re going to find — it looks at how many devices running each version of the OS have accessed the official Android Market. At the time 27.3% of devices were running 2.1; 2.7% were running 2.0.1, and nearly 70% of the devices being used were on either Android 1.5 or 1.6.

Google hadn’t updated the page in four months (this is the first update since the Nexus One was released). It’s pretty clear that it was waiting for the rollout of Android 2.1 to the Motorola Droid, which took place in early April.

Obviously the majority of phones won’t be able to use the Twitter app, nor can they access the newer features Google has been rolling out with the upgraded versions of Android. Google isn’t fully to blame for this — some phone manufacturers are running custom builds of Android and are slow to upgrade (or simply don’t intend to). But developers will be looking to Google to find a way to deal with the fragmentation issue. My hunch is that things will get better at Google I/O next month, when we can expect plenty of Android-related announcements.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Posterous Starts Automatically Inserting Affiliate Links Into Sites, Forgets To Tell Users

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 06:03 PM PDT

We’ve been tracking super-simple publishing service Posterous for quite a while now, and for the most part they’ve turned us into big fans. Unfortunately, they’ve just committed a fairly serious blunder. In a post earlier today, one Posterous user stumbled across the fact that his site was automatically converting all of his links to affiliate links using VigLink. There isn’t anything sinister about VigLink — the service helps publishers generate revenue without having to manually insert affiliate links themselves, and has received funding from Google Ventures, First Round Capital, and some prominent angel investors. But Posterous neglected to inform its users that it was starting to monetize all of their links, which is a breach of user trust.

Co-founder Sachin Agarwal agrees — in a phone interview he conceded that Posterous should definitely have informed users about the change (they’re currently drafting a statement about the incident). Agarwal says that Posterous has actually been testing the VigLink integration for months, which means the links have gone unnoticed for quite a while. But he says it’s just an experiment, and that Posterous hasn’t decided if it’s going to be keeping them in the long-term (though he agrees they should have informed users regardless).

Agarwal also says that if Posterous does wind up permanently integrating VigLink, users won’t have to take part in the program. And there’s an upside: once they’ve built the infrastructure to support it, Posterous has plans to allow its users to generate revenue from links on their own blogs, which could actually drive more people to start using the publishing platform.

It’s worth pointing out that while VigLink will convert any normal links to affiliate links whenever possible, it will ignore any links that are already connected to affiliate programs (in other words, it doesn’t overwrite existing affiliate links).

AT&T On The iPad 3G Video Restrictions: “That’s something you need to ask Apple”

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 05:51 PM PDT

Today in the U.S. people are getting their hands on the 3G version of the iPad for the first time. The hardware is supposed to be exactly the same as the WiFi-only version except, of course, it has a cell chip in it to receive data over AT&T’s 3G network when you’re not connected to WiFi. Since the hardware is basically the same, all the apps should function the same, right? Wrong.

Reports are already coming in that some of the most popular iPad apps — the ones that stream video — are being restricted on the new iPad 3G. Specifically, the YouTube app scales videos down to a “dramatically lower resolution over the cellular data connection,” according to iLounge. Worse, the ABC Player apparently won’t work at all unless you connect to a WiFi network, as a pop-up message informs the user. But apparently iTunes Store streaming video previews are working just fine in full resolution. No word on the Netflix app just yet.

I reached out to AT&T for comment on what’s going on. Are we going to see AT&T restricting services again (remember, in the U.S. we still have no tethering option) so their network isn’t flooded? The only response I got was, “That's something you need to ask Apple.

I asked for clarification on that — does that mean that Apple is the one restricting the app/data, or that they’re the only ones who can comment on the matter? I have yet to hear back. I’ll update when I do. I’ve also reached out to Apple on the matter, but I doubt I’ll hear back from them.

Update: An AT&T spokesperson has responded with the following, “It's just a question for Apple.” That’s almost an Apple-like response.

Update 2: A commenter on the iLounge post notes:

Seems some people (from what I have been told) are finding out its not AT&T that is blocking the video for the sakes of blocking video over 3G… Seems that ABC is streaming to large of a video file (or something along these lines). So ABC needs to fix there app, NETFLIX is working fine over 3G.

That could make sense as it relates to the size of the file actually being streamed as well (though overall size shouldn’t matter). On the iPhone, video is often scaled-down when network signal weakens to give optimal performance. Since even the fastest AT&T 3G connection is slower than WiFi, perhaps ABC’s quality exceeds some limit and is unable to scale down. But it’s hard to know anything for sure without either company commenting beyond “talk to them.”

Update 3: Business Insider’s Dan Frommer writes the following on Twitter:

ABC is wifi only on purpose. I believe rights play a role. (they’re different on wifi vs 3G) sounds dumb but true.

abc told me “the decision was based on a variety of business and technical considerations.” but no details

Online Advertising Revenues Jump Almost 15 Percent In First Quarter

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 02:50 PM PDT

The online advertising industry saw growth accelerate in the first quarter, with the combined advertising revenues of the four largest players (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL) jumping almost 15 percent to $8.8 billion. This compares to 10 percent annual growth in the fourth quarter, and negative growth the first two quarters of last year (aka, the Great Advertising Recession of 2009).

Overall growth would have been even stronger if AOL didn’t have such a rough quarter. It was the only one of the four companies to show a decline in advertising revenues, down 19 percent. Google’s ad revenue was up 21.5 percent, Microsoft’s was up 8.8 percent, and Yahoo’s was up 3 percent (although the display portion was up 20 percent). As a result of AOL’s poor showing, the combined $8.8 billion total was down 2.6 percent from the fourth quarter’s $9 billion

I keep track of these numbers every quarter for these four companies, which turns out to be a good proxy for overall online advertising revenues since they represent a majority of the industry's revenues. The numbers represent global advertising revenues, and include network revenues paid to affiliates through AdSense and Yahoo's ad network. Google's licensing revenues for Google Enterprise Apps have been stripped out. For Microsoft and AOL, I include only the advertising portions of their online revenues as reported in their quarterly earnings statements.

Below is a table with all the numbers:

Online Advertising Revenues (in millions)

1Q09 2Q09 3Q09 4Q09 1Q10
Google $5,331 $5,336 $5,757 $6,465 $6,475
Yahoo $1,383 $1,378 $1,377 $1,535 $1,423
Microsoft $520 $540 $490 $581 $566
AOL $443 $419 $415 $472 $324
Total $7,677 $7,673 $8,039 $9,053 $8,818
Sequential Growth Q/Q -6.55% -0.05% 4.77% 12.60% -2.60
Annual Growth Y/Y -4.63% -5.76% 1.22% 10.20% 14.86%

Looking For The Best Android Twitter Client? You May Want To Try Twitter’s (Yes, It’s Here)

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 02:30 PM PDT

One of my major gripes with the Android platform is a lack of apps that are on-par with the iPhone. Sure, the total number of apps is getting up there, but for the most part, in my opinion, they’re nowhere near as good. One area where this was evident was with Twitter clients. While the iPhone has a number of great ones (led by Tweetie, which Twitter just bought), Android’s options are pretty weak. Seesmic is pretty nice, but wouldn’t be in the top 5 on the iPhone. Today, Twitter may have just solved this problem.

The service has just launched it’s own Android client. We noted they were working on it just a few weeks ago when CEO Evan Williams made the announcement at the company’s Chirp conference. Now, just over two weeks later, it’s here.

Twitter has just announced the client on its blog. When we first wrote about it, it wasn’t exactly clear how they would make it (all internally, or a partnership), now it appears that just as with the BlackBerry one, Twitter’s team of developers and designers worked closely with the Android team over at Google to get the client out there. But they also note that they’re hiring an Android engineer, so you can expect that person to be in charge of future versions.

Some cool-sounding features:

Twitter for Android is a fantastic application to use, and sharing any link or photo is super simple too – just look for the share button in your favorite application and choose Twitter.

Reading tweets is easy in a bunch of places on your phone. Quickly access your timeline with the home screen widget, view a tweet location on a map, and see your friend's latest tweet in your phonebook, GoogleTalk list or any application that uses Android's QuickContact bar.

It clearly looks as if thanks to Android’s more open nature, the Twitter client can be deeply integrated into your phone. For example, there’s a seamless way to sync with the contacts on your Android phone. For Twitter addicts, this level of integration is very nice. “This is just the beginning,” Twitter notes.

A word of warning, this client is apparently only for Android phones running version 2.1 and above of the software. For older Android phones, Twitter suggests using the standard mobile site.

Actually, There Are Already Well Over 5,000 iPad Apps. The iPad Told Me.

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 02:23 PM PDT

Earlier today, a number of publications (including us) ran with the story that the App Store was closing in on 5,000 apps, with 4,870. These numbers came from analytics startup Distimo, which generally has good data and insight into the various app stores. But, naturally, it’s always better to get your data from the source. And while Apple, unsurprisingly, isn’t talking, they don’t have to. Because the iPad is.

The number of iPad apps in the App Store is actually already well past 5,000. How do I know? Sometime in the past couple of days, Apple added a new “Release Date” area to the iPad version of the App Store. This resides next to the standard “New” and “What’s Hot” areas along the top of the store. It’s simply a new way to sort through the apps. But this area has another nifty feature: it tells you how many apps there are in total so you know where you are in the navigation. According to this number, there are 5,351 iPad apps in the App Store.

To be clear, these are apps that are either iPad-only apps, or Universal ones (that work with both the iPad and iPhone/iPod touch). This isn’t counting any of the regular iPhone apps that still work on the iPad, or obviously, there would be something like the 200,000 number Steve Jobs cited yesterday.

This new Release Date area of the iPad App Store is actually very useful. Since the iPad is new, there are obviously far fewer apps built specifically for it than the iPhone/iPod touch. And while Apple’s New and What’s Hot area are pretty good at surfacing good apps (as is the “Top Charts” area), if you want the latest and greatest iPad apps to test out before any of your friends have them, this Release Date area is the place to be.

Update: Distimo has let me know in the comment that their data is only through April 26, hence the discrepancy.

Friday Giveaway: Five Tickets To TechCrunch Disrupt In NY May 24-26 #CRUNCH

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 01:29 PM PDT

You may have noticed that we’re putting on a new event – TechCrunch Disrupt – for two thousand or so of our closest friends in New York on May 24 – 26.

The event is all about innovation and disruption – lots of new companies will launch and battle it out to a top cash prize of $50,000 and a shower of press attention, and we’ve lined up some of the most interesting and powerful people in the media and Internet worlds to give deep insights into the creative destruction happening right now. Also, we’re putting you, the audience, on stage in most of the panels.

The event will sell out, but we understand that some people just can’t afford the ticket price, plus travel if you don’t live in or near New York City. So today we’re giving out five free tickets to the event. That’s $15,000 worth of tickets that we can give away thanks to sponsors like Yahoo, Second Market, Zoosk, Intuit, Bing, The Ladders and scvngr.

Here’s how to get a ticket: Just fan the TechCrunch Facebook page and then do one of two things: either retweet this post, and make sure to include the #CRUNCH hashtag, or leave a comment below telling us why you must attend this event. The contest ends at noon California time tomorrow, Saturday and the winners will be selected at random at that time. Please only tweet the message once, anyone tweeting repeatedly will be disqualified. We'll pick the winners tomorrow afternoon and contact you for more details. Anyone in the world is eligible, as long as you can make your way to New York for the event (you can find cheap accommodations at The Standard hotel or via AirBnB). And we'll throw in a TechCrunch tshirt to each winner.

A Rebuttal Of Roger Ebert’s Diatribe Against 3D Cinema

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 01:01 PM PDT

Roger Ebert. I love the guy, but love can be complicated. I respect and admire so much about him, from his honest take on movies to his courageous embrace of technology to replace his voice, that I feel obligated to give anything he says a fair shake. But his recent dismissal of games as art, and this attack on 3D cinema, demonstrate a curmudgeonly side that I wasn’t aware of. Nicholas already addressed the former position admirably, and I’d like to address the latter, not as a mere fan of 3D cinema (far from it) but as an evangelist for technology in general.

It pains me to differ with someone so distinguished, but I feel that I have an obligation to as someone with a megaphone and the ability to craft what I hope is a cogent rebuttal. His complaints are variously earnest, short-sighted, and inexplicable, but because he is a serious voice in cinema, they deserve a full response.

Continue reading…

Exclusive: Justin.TV’s New Android App, iPhone App Hits 1.5M Downloads (Video)

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 12:58 PM PDT

Justin.tv is finally kicking its mobile plans into high gear. Next week, the lifecasting company will release its Android app to beta users. Unlike its iPhone app (released last month), the Android offering will finally let users stream live video with a simple click and simultaneously chat as they shoot. It's a simple interface, an image of your shot, a chat bar below and three buttons on the right hand side: chat, record and share (see video above). The official version for public consumption is slated for May.

Justin.tv is relatively late to the mobile game— rival Android and iPhone products from Ustream and Qik have been out for months— but the team argues that taking time to refine the products will help them grab more market share later this year. That approach may seem strange given the company’s pioneer status in the market (founder Justin Kan kicked off the lifecasting trend with his personal channel back in 2007), but VP of marketing Evan Soloman says Justin.tv doesn’t put a high premium on being the first to adopt a new technology or platform, which is why it didn’t rush into creating apps for the Android or the iPad. The delays could give their competitors an early strategic advantage, but so far their game plan seems to be working OK— their one-month old iPhone app has enjoyed 1.5 million downloads to date.

That figure alone was a pleasant surprise, says Soloman, who was expecting a number closer to a quarter million. Here are some other key numbers, according to Justin.tv:

-On the first day of the app's release, in late March, there was just a few hundred concurrent (simultaneous) viewers on average, this week, Justin.tv is averaging 2,000 concurrents on its mobile platform.
-It hit a high on Wednesday, when the number of concurrents briefly reached 10,000.
-Mobile views now make up about 5-10% of total views.

The company is finally picking up the pace on its mobile initiatives, but it’s unfortunate that the apps only offer a portion of Justin.tv’s features. As described, the iPhone app lets you view and search live channels but not broadcast (founder Justin Kan cites limitations on the API and poor workarounds), the Android app lets you broadcast but not view live channels. However, some of  these holes should be filled later this year, when it releases a new iPhone app in June based on the new SDK with broadcast and playback capabilities along with new plug-ins for social media sites like Facebook.

If Justin.tv can get all the pieces in place (and soon), mobile will quickly and dramatically shape usage patterns and become a significant traffic driver. Kan, who believes that the mobile platform could dominate 30 to 40% of the business next year, says ongoing improvements in wireless connectivity should also support the expected surge in mobile broadcasting.

Japanese Gaming Company DeNA Sees 136 Percent Jump In Profit And Record Revenue

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 12:57 PM PDT

Japanese gaming company DeNA reported strong fourth quarter and 2009 yearly results today, thanks to the recent growth of social gaming in Japan. For the fiscal fourth quarter, DeNA reported revenues of $205 million, an increase of 81% compared to fourth quarter of 2008. Operating income increased by 136% to $105 million from the fourth quarter of 2008. For fiscal 2009, DeNA reported revenues of $517 million, an increase of 28% compared to fiscal 2008. Operating income for the year increased by 34% to $228 million from fiscal 2008. Both fourth quarter and annual revenues as well as operating profits are record highs for DeNA.

DeNA launched in 1999 as an e-commerce company, and more recently moved towards the social gaming space, now developing in-house social games. The company has launched social game titles like Pirate Treasure, Hoshi-tsuku and Kaito Royale. DeNA has also licensed its games to mobile social networks, which Contributed to the revenue increase. And DeNA's mobile gaming platform Moba-ge-tow has over 18 million registered members.

This week, DeNA also announced a strategic partnership with Yahoo Japan with plans to launch a PC-based social gaming platform, called Yahoo Mobage, later this year.

And the company, which already owns an equity stake in gaming company Aurora Feint and is getting serious about expanding into the U.S. DeNA plans to launch a social gaming platform in a number of English-speaking countries, and develop games for Facebook and other social networks.

These strong revenue and top line numbers from DeNA seems to reinforce the strength of the Japanese gaming market. Earlier this week, VentureBeat reported that social gaming giant Zynga was going to break into the Japanese market with an alliance with Japan’s Softbank investment firm.

Los Angeles Bureaucrats Question The Transition To Google Apps

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 12:36 PM PDT

In December, Google touted a big win for Google's cloud-based communication and collaboration suite, Google Apps: the City of Los Angeles planned to equip its 34,000 employees with Google Apps. This would replace Novell's GroupWise system, the e-mail technology provider that LA had previously been using. LA had evaluated 14 e-mail technology providers for a revamp of the city government's communication and collaboration platform, and ended up picking Google Apps. The deal was reported to be worth $7.2 million. But it hasn't been a smooth transition for LA to move over from GroupWise to Google Apps; and it appears that the City administrators are questioning the move thanks to productivity, security and slowness issues with Google Apps. In an inter-departmental correspondence sent from LA City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana to the Chair of the Information Technology and Government Affairs Committee in mid-April, Santana wrote that current pilot users of Google Apps were experiencing "issues and problems that have negatively affected their productivity and department operations," which could cause the delay of the Citywide implementation of the "Google system."

Iron Man 2 Is Allegorical To Gates Vs. Jobs, Says Reader

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 12:28 PM PDT

The movie Pirates of Silicon Valley (based on the book Fire In The Valley) came out in 1999. The final scene takes place in 1997 when recently-reinstated (interim) CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage at Macworld to announce an alliance with Microsoft to ensure Apple’s future — with Bill Gates’ head on a giant screen behind him. Times have changed. Jobs has now been the official CEO for the past 10 years. Apple no longer goes to Macworld. The world now has the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. Apple has over $40 billion in cash in the bank, and is rapidly approaching Microsoft in market cap. It’s probably time for a sequel.

That sequel, according to one TechCrunch reader, is Iron Man 2.

Laureana Varisco Bonaparte sums up the movie as follows:

I just came from watching IM2, and the whole Stark=Jobs, Hammer=Gates is NOT subtle. The relationship as the public sees it, is right there. Hammer is Bill with better hair. And Tony Stark is………. the movie starts with him giving a keynote speech on a Stark expo. Should I say more? And RDJr’s facial hair makes him resemble Jobs even more (it makes his face look slimmer). It’s pretty cool and almost distractive.

Watch it.

Thanks for the daily awesomeness.

For those unaware, Tony Stark is the character played by Robert Downey Jr. He is Iron Man. Justin Hammer is the character played by Sam Rockwell. He is Stark’s true nemesis in the film.

We haven’t seen the movie yet (it opens in the U.S. on May 7), so it’s hard to say how accurate this review is. Still, wishful thinking or not, it makes me want to see it even more. Has anyone else who has seen it thought the same thing? Could screenwriter Justin Theroux have based some characteristics off of the two tech icons?

Of course, if Steve Jobs were Iron Man, I’m not sure the law enforcement would need to be involved in that iPhone leak right now.

Update: Laurena left us a nice little update in the comments:

From a July 2009 post on Newsarama:

Another newcomer to the set, Sam Rockwell, is portraying weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer. What little we saw of him in the trailer hints at a fast-talking sleaze ball. The actor says Hammer's relationship with Stark is similar to the rivalry between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Emphasis mine – but that’s right from the lips of actor portraying the Gates role himself. So no, it’s not coincidental that some are coming away from the movie with that feeling.

The iPad 3G Has Arrived

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 11:49 AM PDT

My friendly neighborhood iPad 3G man just dropped off my 32GB model fresh from the factory. It still has that new Apple smell. Initial assessments finds that the iPad 3G is just like the iPad with a plastic top for improved wireless connectivity. I'll fire the old girl up and put her through her paces. Expect a full report shortly but until then click through for the growing gallery.

Science To The Rescue: The Turbo Encapulator

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 11:47 AM PDT

This video was emailed to me this morning by a friend as an attachment along with the message “As I have always said, it is science that will save us from all of the most pressing issues of the day. This video truly is inspirational and speaks to mankind’s ability to innovate and evolve….”. A few frantic searches later and I found it on YouTube for you all to enjoy.

It’s not as breathtaking as the DIY CrunchPad kit, but it’s a scientific breakthrough nonetheless. More information here.

Microsoft Agrees With Apple And Google: “The Future Of The Web Is HTML5″

Posted: 30 Apr 2010 11:07 AM PDT

Did we mention that 2010 would be a big year for HTML5? Apple and Google are pushing it big time, and now so is Microsoft. When Internet Explorer 9 comes out, it will support HTML5 and help make it more common across the Web.

“The future of the web is HTML5,” writes Dean Hachamovitch, the general manager for IE at Microsoft in a blog post talking about Web video. Microsoft still supports Flash as well, but HTML5 and Flash are at loggerheads. By throwing its weight behind HTML5, Microsoft giving Website designers one more reason to abandon Flash.

The post specifically talks about Microsoft’s plans to support only the H.264 codec for HTML5 video. Again, Flash players now support H.264 also. But the more H.264 video is out there, the less need there will be for Flash players because those videos can play directly in an HTML5 browser, such as IE9, Safari, or Chrome.

And, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs discussed in his we-don’t-need-no-stinkin’-Flash rant yesterday, H.264 is much more mobile-friendly:

To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.

Hachamovitch is more diplomatic. He also notes that “Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance.” Nevertheless, he adds that too many consumers rely on Flash, so Microsoft will continue to work with Adobe to make it better.

And if it doesn’t get better, . . . well, by that time HTML5 will be more widely distributed on sites across the Web. Microsoft and Apple and Google will make sure of that.


Post a Comment